Friendliness is Sky High on the Sky: Norwegian Sky Cruise Review by Cruzndiz

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Friendliness is Sky High on the Sky

Sail Date: October 2008
Destination: Bahamas
Embarkation: Miami
I booked this cruise as a birthday gift for my daughter's 27th just a girls' weekend getaway. The cruise was paid in full before the ship set sail for her first Bahamas sailing. As a seasoned cruiser, I always read the reviews here and was disappointed to see all the negative comments, reviews and discussions coming back about the ship. Needless to say I was expecting the worst and my only saving grace was the fact that my DD had never cruised before so would have nothing with which to compare this cruise.

Having taken a 6am flight out of New York, we arrived at Miami port by 10am. There is nothing to do there so don't get in early! Luckily the port opened at 10:45 and we were the first to get in. Check in was a breeze and we were given a number to wait for our group to board. We actually boarded the vessel around 11:30, and, glass of champagne in hand, we headed for deck 11 for some lunch and a dip in the pool. We then did a deck by deck exploration of the ship More stopping on deck 9 to see if we could drop our luggage off in our cabin. Surprise! Cabin was immaculate and fully ready for us, so we were able to unpack and freshen up. Found my cabin steward by walking up & down the hallway, slipped him a $20 and we had towel animals (which they only seem to do for cabins with small children) and a full ice bucket constantly!

The ship itself is in beautiful condition and the decor is fittingly tropical even though it is Hawaiian rather than Caribbean themed. If you didn't know that this ship previously sailed Hawaii, you probably wouldn't even notice. In fact, the lovely flower spray on the bow of the ship is quite eye catching as it sits in the Bahamas seaports.

This is my first experience at Freestyle cruising and while I liked most of the aspects, the scheduling of the activities and shows does make pre-planning necessary if you really want to do everything PLUS eat! Even with all of my organizational tactics, I still ended up missing some of the things I wanted to do including the free cruise raffle: I can only hope that my ticket number wasn't called!

THE ENTERTAINMENT: We saw the first night show in Stardust which was great in that it was a taste of all the different talent on board. Rich Purpura is a seasoned comic and though predictable, his timing is good so the show is worthwhile. Salsamore - the band on pool deck - was good, but the lead is hard for me to understand when he is speaking so I started to get a headache from trying to process what he was saying. I actually thought he was speaking Spanish rather than English which would explain my difficulty, but the Spanish woman sitting next to me said "no, that is English. But I can't understand him when he speaks Spanish either" so that made me feel a little better. Leo sings and plays guitar in a few different venues on the ship and is entertaining especially when he sings a very stylized American song with his Fillipino(?) accent. Both musicians on either side of the Atrium are talented and enjoyable if you are looking for some relaxing background music. The White Hot Party and Carnivale Espactular are a lot of fun IF YOU PARTICIPATE/DANCE I can't imagine they'd be so much fun if you are a spectator. Matt Baker was a great CD, slightly more subdued than I thought he'd be, and I put him solidly tied for first place in my personal "Greatest Cruise Director Contest"

THE STAFF: This is the area where I feel NCL stands head and shoulders above other lines. Generally, you can't expect the same level of service by the staff on 3-4 day cruises that you would see on 7 day or longer journeys; after all, they hardly get to know you before you are off the ship. This, however, was not true on the Sky quite the opposite, in fact! The officers and executives on this ship were hands-on, interacting with passengers constantly. As were the staff you would regularly expect. The casino waiters knew by the end of the first day what I like to drink and took care of me promptly. Even in the restaurants, though I never saw the same server more than once over the weekend, I still got treated as if I was a long time, valued customer. I have gotten so used to deferentially being called "my lady" and "madam" that I am going to start insisting my family uses these terms to address me! (BTW I am 47, not 97 because at that age I expect that EVERYONE on land and at sea should be speaking to me deferentially LOL) I expect this level of service on Regent and Crystal I am overwhelmingly gratified to see it on NCL.

THE CABINS: Well, I thought my stateroom was small but it was clean, functional and comfortable so no complaints there. The tv could have been bigger, but perhaps that would have made the room seem smaller! Balcony was a decent size and though the chairs were the "old ones" I didn't think they were too small or uncomfortable. If you want to lay out, there is plenty of deck space available. As far as the beds being too hard no doubt those mattresses are firm but I had some of my best sleep ever this past weekend, so maybe we're all used to sleeping on beds that are TOO soft!

THE FOOD: There is no question that the Sky will ever be known for its food; as in, "You have to book the Sky, the {fill in the blank with buffet, specialty item, etc.} is to die for!" The food choices are quite limited, as are the times food is available, and I ended up eating three hamburgers this weekend! I don't think I've EVER eaten a hamburger on a cruise. The food in the main dining rooms was okay with not too many selections and the quality is probably on par with an Applebees or Tai but if you look at it in relation to what you probably paid for this cruise you would realize you got yourself quite a bargain! I ate in only one specialty (Le Bistro)and the food there was also good (not to die for) but the layout was kind of unnerving and I felt as if we were eating in a train's dining car. If you fancy yourself a gourmand or gastronome you will come back complaining about the food if you look at food as nourishment and cruise for the FUN of it the food will not detract from your experience. Even with the food being only "good", I gained five pounds this weekend!

I am sure there is much more I didn't cover, but I need to take a nap to catch up on all the sleep I missed this weekend. Feel free to email me any questions!

Linda@middle Less

Published 10/08/08

Cabin review: BA9221 Mid-Ship Balcony

This cabin is in an ideal location

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